A few ways to get to sleep easier according to science
Being relaxed, refreshed and clear-minded are common themes for getting to sleep. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day is touted as the most effective way to ensure good sleep. Beyond that, here are seven other great strategies for passing out.
1. Sleep in a colder room: To initiate sleep, your body has to cool down a couple of degrees. A colder room will get you there faster.
2. Take a hot shower or bath before bed: When you’re exposed to hot temperature, blood vessels on your skin’s surface swell to release heat. This will help you cool down.
3. Avoid stimulants and sugar late in the day: Nicotine, caffeine and sugar can energize your body and make it tough to fall asleep.
4. Don’t nap too late in the day: A late-day nap can make it harder to fall asleep at night, since your brain’s already had some rest and may want to stay up.
5. Relax before bed: Relaxing before bed will prepare your brain for bedtime. Doing a relaxing activity such as reading or yoga for an hour or so before bed will prepare you for sleep.
6. Avoid bright screens at night: Screens emit blue light, a wavelength of light which tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. Putting the phone away an hour or two before you go to sleep will make it easier to fall asleep.
We all have our own methods for falling asleep. Personally, I like to lay on my belly and cover myself in pillows, but I’m weird like that. I asked students on campus what their methods were for falling asleep. Here is what they said:
Stephanie Rodriguez and Krystal Padilla both have pre-sleep rituals that prepare them to crash.
“I feel like de-stressing,” Rodriguez said. “Taking a shower, doing a face mask, smoking a bowl. You have to turn off your brain before actually going to sleep. I hate going to bed actually thinking about stuff.”
“I have these Christmas lights in my bedroom and I turn those on, I smoke a blunt, I listen to music,” Padilla said. “I’m just relaxing, I feel refreshed and I just brush my hair. It helps me go to sleep.”
Gigo Derderian and Seamus Begley have straightforward methods for getting to sleep. Allowing sleep to wash over them, they lay in bed either meditating through discomfort or rolling around until maximum coziness is achieved.
“One thing I do is I lie down and try to stay as still as possible,” Derderian said. “Even if I feel an itch or something I just ignore it. I will kinda start with my toes and work my way up. I try to make sure I’m comfortable and relaxed in every point in my body. By the time I get to the top, I’ll already be dozing off.”
“Whenever I’m going to sleep, I’ll lay down and I just need to get really comfortable,” Begley said. “I’m always rolling around for the first five minutes and then I find a spot where I’m like ‘yeah, that’s it,’ and then I’m just out.”
School demands a lot from students. We can be pushed to a limit as project deadlines approach. The stress we face is definitely real, but we shouldn’t let that get in the way of some shut-eye. Sleep is just as important as eating and exercising when it comes to health. Get some.